The Health Secretary has announced his intention to merge HEE, NHSX, and NHS Digital into NHSE&I to focus on workforce and technology for the NHS in England

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Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has set out his intentions to merge Health Education England (HEE) with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) as part of efforts to put ‘long-term planning and strategy for healthcare staff recruitment and retention at the forefront of the national NHS agenda.

The announcement from the DHSC suggests that the plans will equip the health and care sector to ‘face the future and deliver for patients’.

Accepting the recommendations of Laura Wade-Gery, Non-Executive Director at NHS England and Chair of NHS Digital, NHSX and NHS Digital are also destined to be merged into NHSE/I to ‘build on the huge progress made on digital transformation during the pandemic’.

The DHSC also plans to establish a Digital Delivery Unit to sit within the existing NHS Delivery Unit. This will be a ‘single, central unit with data at its core’ intended to identify what is impeding the recovery of NHS services from the effects of the pandemic, and how best to overcome them.

The formal merger of HEE and NHSE/I will be subject to Parliamentary approval (expected in summer 2022). The power to enable formal legal mergers of DHSC’s arm’s-length bodies is currently being considered by Parliament as part of the Health and Care Bill.

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